I love snacks, and I love convenience. What I don’t love is all of the processing that goes into the pre-packaged convenience snacks that are available on the market. But while my kids are dietitian’s kids and know that it’s important to fuel our bodies well, they are kids. Sometimes they just want something quick, easy, and sweet.
These energy balls are made with medjool dates, which take care of the sweet factor. They kind of taste like candy! And I added mini chocolate chips, so really this is like eating dessert. The difference is, they are made with fresh ingredients and pack a ton of nutrition.
Oh, and don’t tell the minions: they contain prunes. Gasp! Prunes?! Yes, prunes. And no, they don’t taste like something your grandma would eat. But they do provide a ton of health benefits. We all know prunes help keep things moving (which is always important!), but they also add extra potassium and iron to this recipe.
This recipe is nut-free*, so if you’ve got a minion (or adult family member, for that matter!) with a nut allergy, these treats are fair game. They can even go in the lunch box for peanut-free classrooms.
*This recipe contains coconut, which is considered a fruit, even though the FDA classifies it as a tree nut. While coconut allergies do exist, most individuals with tree-nut allergies can safely consume coconuts. If in doubt, please check with your allergist first! (visit www.acaai.org for more information)
All you’ll need for this recipe is your food processor and a freezer-safe casserole dish. Start by turning your old-fashioned oats into crumbly oat flour. You don’t want to go crazy here and pulverize the whole thing – unless your people are sensitive about the texture of oats. Then go ahead and chop it more finely. Add everything except the mini chocolate chips and process until the whole thing turns into a sticky dough that starts to come together on the side of the bowl.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl and add the chocolate chips. It’s going to be tough to fold them in with a spoon, so feel free to use your hands if need be. Take about a tablespoon worth of the dough (just eyeball it) and roll it into a ball between your palms. (It helps if you wet your hands with water for this.) It’ll make 2-2.5 dozen energy balls.
Line them up on parchment paper in a freezer-safe dish. Freeze them for at least an hour before serving. They keep best in the freezer in a plastic container. Enjoy!
Medjool Date Energy Balls (Nut-Free*)
Total Time: 20 minutes
*This recipe contains coconut, which is considered a fruit, even though the FDA classifies it as a tree nut. While coconut allergies do exist, most individuals with tree-nut allergies can safely consume coconuts. If in doubt, please check with your allergist first! (visit http://www.acaai.org for more information)
- 1.5 c old-fashioned oats
- 1 c medjool dates
- 1 c prunes
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil*
- 1/8 c honey
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 c mini chocolate chips
- Line a freezer-safe baking dish with parchment paper.
- Add the oats to your food processor and process into crumbly oat flour.
- Add the dates, prunes, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, and vanilla extract. Process until a sticky dough forms.
- Dump the dough into a medium bowl. Wet your hands with water and knead the dough until it comes together.
- Flatten it out in the bowl and sprinkle the chocolate chips. Wet your hands again and mix in the chocolate chips.
- With wet hands, form the dough into 24-30 bite-sized balls and line them up on the parchment paper.
- Place the dish in the freezer for at least an hour before serving. Store the energy balls tightly covered in a plastic container in the freezer.
Carbohydrate: 14 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: 2 grams